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#COP21 Report: China’s green transformation holds key to success – but what will India do?

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China’s commitment to climate change and low-carbon development is a major reason why the UN climate summit in Paris is likely to succeed, a report concludes. But another finds that questions remain about India’s carbon heavy development plans.

The first report, by chinadialogue and the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, concludes that one of the main differences between the failed Copenhagen summit of 2009 and the Paris talks is the rapid acceleration of China’s progress towards a low-carbon economy.

“Most people who are unfamiliar with China simply haven’t grasped the scale of the Chinese government’s ambition towards low-carbon development,” said Sam Geall of Sussex University, Executive Editor at chinadialogue.

“For China, climate change is both an existential risk and a major opportunity. It intends to be both leading the pack in investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies, and also to be the supplier to the world of those same technologies.”

The report concludes that China’s increased engagement with the UN process stems from a drive to address serious environmental impacts in its own country, on climate change and air pollution, as well as a desire to demonstrate true geopolitical leadership.

“Major developing states such as China have grasped the fact that dealing effectively with climate change is in fact a massive opportunity – and it’s now Britain and the rest of Europe that are playing catch-up with them,” said Richard Black, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

“It’s remarkable that lazy memes such as ‘it’s pointless doing anything to tackle climate change because China’s building a coal-fired power station every week’ still continue to appear in parts of the Western media.

“China is building coal-fired power stations but it’s also closing many of the older ones down, which is why its overall coal use is declining – the more significant point is it’s now building the clean energy equivalent of one coal-fired power station every week, and will do for the next 15 years.”

After the failed Copenhagen talks of 2009, China was painted in the West as having been the main villain.

Isabel Hilton, CEO and Editor of chinadialogue, said that India risks garnering the same label if COP21 fails to deliver an agreement compatible with the 2 Celsius global warming target.

“India’s national solar mission and its commitment to the Global Solar Alliance are highly significant, but it would be a pity if they were undermined by an equally strong commitment to coal,” she said.

Joydeep Gupta, editor of indiaclimatedialogue.net and a co-author on the report, said: “Given that India is ranked the second most vulnerable to the economic costs of climate change, only a strong global deal can generate the finance to avert disaster.

“India’s INDC contains ambitious renewables plans, but the bigger challenge will be the economic case for a shift to green development. There is certain to be increased pressure on India during these negotiations.”

The reports, China’s Low Carbon Future Offers Global Opportunities and Hot Air, Climate negotiations and India, are available to download at www.chinadialogue.net/reports.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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